Research: File Traders Buy Digital Downloads Too.

By Jon Newton 11/9/04

Would you describe yourself as a "digitally-dependant" consumer?

If so, there's a roughly one-in-three chance that you own an mp3 player and have been "experimenting" with fee-based online digital music services.

That's the conclusion of the latest Ipsos-Insight TEMPO study into "digital music behaviors".

In July this year, 35% of American downloaders aged 12 and older had paid a fee to download music or mp3 files, roughly a 150% increase over levels witnessed in late 2003, it says, going on:

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"This translates into roughly 20 million people within the current US population (according to 2000 US Census figures)."

Some 40% of adult downloaders aged between 25 to 34 and 46% of those aged between 35 and54, "are most likely to have paid to download digital music," says the firm, continuing:

"Interestingly, downloaders aged 12 to 17 were the least likely of all American downloader age groups to say they have paid for digital music (16%), perhaps reflecting the lack of non-credit card based payment methods available on current fee-based services."

It might also reflect the fact that the younger generations can tell the difference between the p2p networks, with millions of files available world-wide, and the Big Music cartel's 750,000 or so cookie-cutter offerings at a dollar-per-download.

"[...] existing music services have yet to truly penetrate the population of young file-sharing stalwarts," says Ipsos-Insight vp Matt Kleinschmit, who's also the TEMPO author.

"In addition, American males are moderately more likely than their female counterparts to have paid to download digital music files off of the Internet: 37% of US males age 12 or older report having engaged in this activity compared to 30% of American females," says the study.

"However, American females are gradually narrowing the gender gap, as current female fee-based downloading experience levels have doubled compared to one year ago (compared to 15% in June 2003).

It also found those who've downloaded music probably own a portable digital audio player, one out of four now, up from 16% in late December, 2003.

"These strengthened ownership levels have been driven primarily by American youth (ages 12 to 17) and young adults (ages 18 to 24), both of whom roughly doubled their proportion of portable MP3 player owners since late 2003, says the report.

p2pnet asked Kleinschmit several questions. They're below, with his responses.

p2pnet - On your *Number Of Paying Music Downloaders Increases 150% In First Half Of 2004*, what services were your respondents downloading from, with break-downs if possible?

Kleinschmit - Respondents reported downloading from a variety of the fee-based services currently available. Due to the proprietary nature of our research, I cannot share specific breakdowns at this time.

p2pnet - Your survey asked: *Have you ever paid a fee ...?* What amounts were involved - ie, how much did respondents typically pay?

Kleinschmit - We did not ask how much they paid.

p2pnet - You say *... Americans are ... experimenting* - how do you define experimenting?

Kleinschmit - We refer to this as experimenting given the large increases in fee-based downloading that have occurred over the past year.

p2pnet - Did you ask whether or not respondents had downloaded from p2p networks? If so, what was the response?

Kleinschmit - We regurarly track both fee-based and filesharing behaviors - however, again, we cannot share at this time out of respect for our study subscribers.

p2pnet - You say, " legitimate online methods" - how do you define illegal or 'non-legitimate' methods?

Kleinschmit - The term legitimate online methods refers to fee-based acquisition of copyrighted material.

Data were collected between June 24th and 28th, 2004, via a nationally representative US sample of 1,114 respondents aged 12 and over, says the firm.

I find Kleinschmit's response to the last question, about what constitutes a "legitimate" method, interesting. As radio and MTV are not fee-based forms of copyright material acquisition (we as consumers can and do tape off the air as defined by fair use laws) I guess they are not legitimate forms either. As a number of artists and independent record companies are intentionally positioning their music to be freely traded on the free P2P services as a promotional vehicle, I think Ipsos needs to further refine their definition -- editor.


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

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Other MP3 stories:
iPod Killers for Christmas Part I
iPod Killers for Christmas Part II
iPod Killers for Christmas Part III
iPod Killers for Christmas Part IV

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